To spur or not to spur!!
I am asking this out of curiousty only and do not want to begin an arguement by no means. Do you believe in spurs for a horse?? If so why, and what kind? If not why and what tricks do you use on those really hard to get moving guys???
Spurs can be a useful tool, but should only be used by riders who have a stable enough leg to engage them only when necessary.
I just recently started using spurs. I use them as my "last resort force" with Lucky, because since she's been ridden by her new owner (and I plan to stop leasing her as soon as I find another horse) she doesn't want to listen to leg aids. I use my leg, leg a bit more forcefully, and then I engage the spurs as my last resort. I'm finally confident enough in my leg stability (I was suggested to start using them for refinement, but I wasn't confident enough that I wouldn't accidently jab the horses' sides) that I figured I'd start to use them. I bought a pair of slip on rowels at fair last year for trying out a horse I was looking at to buy because she was ridden in spurs, but I ended up hanging them on the rail and only using heels for reinforcement because she listened perfectly fine without them. They've been sitting in my grooming tote since up until two weeks ago.
Lucky listens absolutely perfect when I'm using them. I cue her with leg, she doesn't listen, I brush her winter fuzzies with the spur and she listens right away, I don't even have to touch her sides with them. She needs absolutely no encouragement to go, as she's very forward. Not that I would use them for forward motion though, that's what whips and crops are for, IMO.
I use 6-point rounded rowels, since that's just what I have, but if I just so happen to be offered a free pair of the little round-tipped "starter" spurs, I wouldn't have any "ego-issues" using them instead. I know a few people that I show with that use sharpened rowels on their game horses because the horses don't want to run or listen (because half of them are made crazy), and I cringe. At fair last year I know a little boy (about 12-14?) who bloodied his mares sides (she loved running and she had no issue running her fastest without encouragement) because his mother decided he should use spurs. That little mare ran her heart out and placed every show in barrels, she didnt deserve a boy who didn't know how to use spurs to be kicking the h*ll out of her sides. My point in that story being, even though riders who know how to use them have to really work to bloody a horse's sides, a rider who has no clue how to use them can do it easily. But, that's just my personal opinion.
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I saw a Julie Goodnight special where she used a bat (crop) when the horse wouldn't move off leg she quickly and sharply swatted him in the barrel. Not on the rump. If on the rump they might buck or kick. This method was very effective and the horse learned quickly to move off when lightly asked.
I am a minimalist. I like to use the least amount of equipment possible. But I am not against spurs as a training aid.
Spurs are an extension of your leg. They allow your aids to be more precise and clear. My horse gets ridden in spurs if we are having a real ride and not just going out for a hack. Spurs should only be used by someone that is advanced enough to know when to turn their spur "on" and "off." Spurs are never to be used as a weapon or punishment, simply for making your requests to your horse more clear and to get a more immediate response.
Since I can't reach a horse's rump with my leg, I don't apply the stick there. I apply it to the barrel right by my leg and I do it along with the leg aid if my leg alone is being ignored.
Im not coordinated enough to hang on, pull on reins and use a crop. So spurs it is, I have a spooky horse that likes to do the quick spin on occasion, or sees something screwy and decides he wont go, Spurs work like a charm, but its 1,2,3, like every other tool.
Verbal, squeeze and kick, then roll the feet in a bit. I also used them on a clover sour horse. Yeh I just invented that term, sorta like barn sour, but clover sour, when riding if you came to a clover patch the head went down and he refused it move and it was a battle to get his head up, A harsher bit may have helped but I was a real beginner rider and he was really soft mouthed to the point he knew verbal commands, Left and right. Unless there was a clover patch. Spurs worked well.
i don't climb on a horse without my rockgrinders.i train full time,so they never leave my boots.but like it was stated before,i use them as a training devise.and to get a hard horse to move,first i squeeze.if no response,then i turn my toe out and rake up a ribcage.
The only time I don't wear spurs is with a young horse new to a saddle. Once they have about 10 or so rides Ill start wearing them. Just because I wear them however does not mean I use them. I just have them as a reinforcement tool. I very rarely use them for forward motion. Usually use them to get a horse to move more laterally or to bend the ribcage.
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